Wednesday, July 25, 2018

"Let's go for a quick paddle on the river, it'll be fun!", she said...

We made some new friends at the campground in Gorham, NH. It shouldn't surprise anyone that our dogs hit it off and became besties first, and after a successful day hike and a beautiful sunset paddle together, we made plans for a paddle down the river.

They talked me into leaving the stand-up paddleboard behind and borrowing their extra kayak, so all four of us could paddle together.

We left a car at the landing spot and put in on the Androscoggin River just past Milan. The plan was to float down the river for a little bit. Honestly, it didn't seem that far when we were all riding and chatting our way up to the launching spot. Oh how the miles can fly by when you aren't paying attention!

We pushed off the river's edge and were greeted by floating fields of lily pads.  The river slowly wound its way East (yes that still feels backwards to me) and we floated along peacefully, chatting and occasionally swatting. The sun was bright, I was glad we'd covered in sunblock and bugspray.

Hour 1: I'm in love with this beautiful river, peaceful and lonely, I'm sure glad I put on the sunblock and bugspray. The flowers along the shoreline are colorful and bring floral scents to us on a light breeze. As we paddle and drift dreamily by I imagine what it would be like to live here and debate the pros/cons of having property on this side or that side of the river.

Hour 2: Look at that cute little turtle on the shoreline!  I need more sunblock, time to re-apply, my pasty white arms haven't seen enough sun this year to prepare for this. Where did that wind come from? It's good I left the stand-up paddleboard, it isn't likely I could have pushed against this wind. Why is the dog whining? At least for her I packed plenty of water. It's sure pretty here. Hey check out that cool bird!

Hour 3: Sure am glad I put on the bug spray. I need more sunblock, time to re-re-apply. That wind is getting stiff. Why is this river sooooo slow? I probably should have eaten a real breakfast this morning. My arms are getting tired and my butt is starting to complain. At least if I shift around often I can occasionally restore feeling to my legs. The dog is still whining, I've given up trying to guess at why.

Hour 4: Holy hell where are we? We are never going to get there, I should have studied that map more carefully, and I definitely should've packed snacks and more water. We're going to starve to death out here if I don't become a baked lobster or burst into flames first. I have lost sensation from the waist down and my fingers are blistering. The wind is whipping up little whitecaps for us to row against, in fact I'm pretty sure if I stop rowing I'll get pushed back UP the river. I briefly consider clawing my way up the riverbank to die of sun exposure on the shore. I hate every piece of abandoned property along the river's edge - seriously, where are all the #&**# people in this Godforsaken countryside!? The dog's whining is starting to really get on my nerves; in hindsight, she may have seen this coming.

Hour 5: I'm having an out-of-body experience. Yes in my new life here on the river I will try to catch fish and if I don't have any luck I will eat that dog, that's one sure way to stop her whining. I find myself casually wondering how long to cook a dog before she's edible... Hey wait, hold up! That's a landmark I recognize. We just might make it after all! I can probably stop regretting the life insurance policy I forgot to buy... Oh, hey, there's the landing spot. Wasn't that fun?

Towards the beginning of our 7-mile paddle, and before the 20 knot winds kicked up

Absolutely, let's definitely do this again sometime!

Come on legs, time to get out. Legs?!

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